For a large living room or entertainment area a big screen flat panel LCD is the way to go. Until now Plasma technology has always dominated the large screen sized flat panel television market. We’re starting to see changes thanks to advancements allowing for larger and larger LCD screens at more reasonable prices. Nothing better exemplifies this affordability better than Sharp’s 52″ flat panel LCD HDTV LC-52SB55U. Just a year ago no one would have dreamed that an LCD screen of this size would be available for less than $2000. Thanks to its overwhelming popularity and affordability I decided to get hands on with the LC-52SB55U myself.
Picture Quality: 5/5
When it comes to buying a new flat panel television the styling and appearance often make a big difference. This is a type of purchase that not only serves the functional purpose of providing something to watch but also a decorating option. Typically the focal point of a room, often consumers consider this as much picture quality. The Sharp unfortunately doesn’t really make a tremendous impression in this category. With a standard gloss black bezel framing the screen the television looks a little bit boxier then some of the other models. Also the screen is a bit loose and doesn’t seem like a very robust television. A screen of this size does need a strong stand though and it does deliver. The sturdy stand offers the LC-52SB55U an excellent base and does not wobble. The speakers can be found at the base and deliver 20 watts of power. The speakers are surprisingly loud and offer nice acoustics overall despite being an internal set. Also the connectivity is more than adequate with 4 HDMI ports, 1 more than standard.
The picture offered by the LC-52SB55U is available in true HD 1080p. This is especially useful on a screen of this size. I had no trouble receiving a 1080p picture from a Bluray deliver via HDMI from a Playstation 3. I found that the picture was clean and crisp even when standing close to the display. I found that the viewing angle feel with in an acceptable range and clearly approached 180 degrees. The contrast ratio is reported at 10000:1 and provides deep levels of black. Motion blur was a little bit of a problem especially when playing games that are quickly flashing images. I felt that the standard definition viewing on this television (via digital cable) was above average and had very little distortion.
A television of this size from a major manufacturer is rarely found for less than $2000. The LC-52SB55U can often be found for less than $2000 and sometimes for less than $1500 as was seen during the most recent holiday season. I would keep my eye open on this set and watch the prices anything below $1500 would be a steal.